Friday, Oct. 4, 2002
Anderson Justice Center Auditorium
The Natya Dance Theatre offered a lecture/demonstration of the Pushpanjali dance (offering of flowers), followed by an hour-long master class for up to 50 people. The master class included excerpts from Varnan and Padam, a dialogue between a dancer and her lover.
Friday, Oct. 4, 2002
Taylor Performing Arts Center
The Festival of Lights continued as Natya Dance Theatre offered a prelude to its Saturday evening performance with a mini-musical and dancing by Krithika Rajagopalan, executive director of the dance company. Since her debut in 1988, Ms. Rajagopalan has presented more than 150 solo performances, appearing at prestigious venues all over the world. Her choreography formed an integral part of the Emmy-award winning PBS production World Stage Chicago.
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2002
Taylor Performing Arts Center
The Natya Dance Theatre presented "Shakti Chakra - The Energy Cycle," a traditional Indian dance complete with exotic costumes and native songs and instruments. Stories from Hindu mythology were interpreted through movement in order to explore humanity's place in the cycle of creation. Each story was preceded by a summary using English voice-over and movement.
Based in Chicago, the Natya Dance Theatre was founded in 1975 by Hema Rajagopalan, an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer. Ms. Rajagopalan is the recipient of seven National Endowment for the Arts choreography awards as well as an Emmy. The Natya Dance Theatre has produced innovative works of Bharatanatyam, a 3,000-year-old classical dance-theater style from India. Bharatanatyam is a delicate blend of precise movements and gestures that use folktales and myths to tell stories while exploring spirituality through the dance.
Nov. 13 - 16, 2002
Bud Walton Theatre
Admission: free to students, faculty, staff
Southern Theatre presented the classical Indian play Rakshasa's Ring. Written by the Sanskrit playwright Vishakhadatta, Rakshasa's Ring is a quasi-historical drama centered on the rivalry between Kautilya, chief minister to the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta, and Rakshasa, former chief minister to the erstwhile ruling family, the Nandas. Filled with colorful storytelling, intrigue, spies, a little humor, and just a hint of tragedy (the latter not something normally found in classical Indian plays), Rakshasa's Ring introduces audiences to the complexities of the Mauryan court at Pataliputra, the great capital city of Magadha, in the third century BCE. The production was guest-directed by Lina Khoury, who holds an MFA in directing from the University of Arkansas, and featured students from Southern's theatre program.
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002
Webster Hall Auditorium
Indian percussionist Sandip Burman, accompanied by guitarist Paul Bollenback and saxophonist Dave Pietro, presented an "East Meets Jazz" concert featuring traditional ragas (song melodies) and talas (rhythms) dating back more than 1,000 years. An accomplished tabla player, Burman has made a name for himself with his blinding speed, vast repertoire, flexibility and creativity. He has taken the stage with India's foremost classical musicians and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado.
Guitarist Paul Bollenback's emotionally expressive style and eclectic approach is the result of years of listening, studying and playing music by Carlos Santana, Yes, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter and Lenny Breau. At the age of 7, Bollenback received a nylon-string guitar from his father, a classically trained trumpeter and lover of music. When he was 11, his family relocated to New Delhi, India, on a three-year consulting engagement with United States Aid. It was there that he cultivated his life-long interest in exotic musical sounds and timbres, which is evident in his debut recording, Original Visions.
Bollenback has appeared on "The Tonight Show," "Good Morning America," "Joan Rivers," "The Today Show," and "Entertainment Tonight." He has contributed some acoustic guitar work to "America's Most Wanted" and has played with an impressive spectrum of musicians, including Stanley Turrentine, James Moody, Gary Thomas, Joe D'Orio, Ira Sullivan, Jack McDuff, Herb Ellis, Carter Jefferson, Dave Valentin, Ron Holloway, David Newman, Charlie Byrd, Paul Bley, Scott Ambush of Spyro Gyra, Della Reese, Ethel Ennis, Joe Kennedy, Arturo Sandoval, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Bollenback attended the University of Miami as a music major. In 1997, he was named Musician of the Year at the Washington Area Music Awards and became an Adjunct Professor of Music at the American University in Washington, DC. His two compositions, "Wookies's Revenge" and "Romancin' the Moon" (featured on Joey DeFrancesco's Rebboppin') earned him the SESAC award for original songs and he was later invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
"Not one jazz virtuoso could put the definition of jazz into words, but all agreed that you know it when you hear it. That's the way it is with Paul Bollenback. It's bona-fide playing, unambiguous, up-front and powerful," summarizes George Benson, a long-time friend.
A native of Southboro, Massachusetts, saxophonist Dave Pietro has been on the New York jazz scene since 1987. He has toured with the bands of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton and Maynard Ferguson. Presently, he is the lead alto saxophonist for the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and has recorded four CDs with the band since becoming a member in 1994. He has worked in the orchestras of over 30 different Broadway musicals and has played at jazz clubs, jazz festivals and concert halls throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Pietro has also performed with many other well-known bands and musicians, including Paul Anka, Louis Bellson, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bobby Caldwell, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Feinstein, Joe Lovano, Liza Minelli, John and Bucky Pizzarelli and Clark Terry. He has apppeared on the "Rosie O'Donnell Show" with singer/actor James Naughton and on the "David Letterman Show" with the cast of the Broadway musical 42nd Street.
Pietro's first two CDs, "Forgotten Dreams" (A-Records 1996) and "Wind Dance" (A-Records 1998), which both feature Dave Holland on bass, Kenny Werner on piano, and Bill Stewart on drums, have received excellent reviews and much critical acclaim. His third CD, "Now Becoming Then" (A-Records 1999), which features drummer Brian Blade, bassist Scott Colley and trumpeter Scott Wendholt among others, is a "rich feast for listeners" according to Bill Bennett of Jazz Times magazine. Pietro's fourth CD for A-Records, "Standard Wonder-The Music of Stevie Wonder," was released in September 2001.
Pietro received a bachelor's degree in music education from North Texas State University and a master's degree in jazz composition from New York University. Currently he is an adjunct faculty member for the City College of New York, Hofstra University, New York University and Long Island University (CW Post Campus).